CCI officials say that the existing norms do not allow them to buy produce with moisture content beyond 12 per cent

The cotton growers’ hope of selling their rain-damaged produce to the government agency has dashed as the officials of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) have said that the existing guidelines do not allow them to purchase cotton with high moisture content.

The CCI Chairman and Managing Director B. K. Mishra, Director (Marketing) M. M. Chokkalingam and CCI General Manager of Guntur S.K. Chaturvedi visited Nakrekal Market Yard after repeated appeals from the district administration to set up cotton procurement centres in the district.

CCI team visits market

The officials checked moisture content of the produce brought by farmers to Nakrekal Market Yard and asked marketing officials to bring some fresh cotton from fields to check its moisture content. After verifying the cotton, the CCI officials expressed their inability to purchase the produce with 18-20 per cent moisture content. Mr. B. K. Chaturvedi told Nalgonda Assistant Director (Marketing) P. Prasada Rao that the CCI purchases cotton with up to 8 per cent of moisture content by offering MSP of Rs. 4,000.

He further said that they also purchase cotton with moisture content up to 12 per cent by cutting Rs. 40 per per cent of moisture beyond the permissible level. He said that the CCI norms do not allow them to purchase cotton as they contain 18 to 20 per cent of moisture.

Farmers’ plight

Explaining the plight of the cotton farmers who incurred huge loses owing to incessant rains, Agriculture Joint Director B. Narasing Rao told to the CCI tem that many farmers committed suicide finding no takers for their produce and urged the officials to relax norms.

According to Mr. Rao, the district farmers cultivated cotton in 3 lakh hectares and expected 45 lakh quintals of produce , but rains and pest attack dashed the hopes of farmers. “Now we are expecting a 20 per cent dip in production,” he said.

Responding to the pleas, Mr. B.K. Mishra said that they would take up the issue with the higher officials. “If they (the CCI) permit us, the procurement centres would be set up in 15 days,” he said.

Meanwhile the agriculture and marketing officials appealed to the CCI officials to set up 16 centres this year, apart from the 12 set up last procurement season.

Later, the CCI team also visited Choutuppal market.